The Lapp Knot
and its Evil
July 27, 2010
The Lapp knot, a bend, is not well presented on the web. At
least one YouTube video teaches an unreliable and hazardous version of
it. Several other depictions of the knot do not clearly
discriminate between the more and less reliable versions of
it. Even if these errors of presentation were not so
prominent, the existence of a hazardous knot that looks almost
identical to the Lapp knot, and which can be tied by a simple error
when attempting to tie the Lapp knot, means that it is questionable
whether the knot should be widely taught to non-experts. The look-alike
impostor of the Lapp knot, is called the anti-Lapp knot in the following
illustration. It merits the name evil
impostor because it's hazardous, hard to tell from the Lapp
knot, and easy to make by mistake while you're trying to make a Lapp
As shown in the illustration, both standing parts of the Lapp knot must
come out of the same side of the knot when it is in the form it takes
just before dressing it into working form.
The anti-Lapp knot can fail catastrophically under load, one working
end slipping through the knot until the knot evaporates into
nothing. I tested both knots in 1/16 inch / 1.6 mm nylon braided
cord. I used a test rig consisting of a dowel foot bar and a
dowel handle, allowing me to use the strength of my legs to tension a
I tested a dozen Lapp knots and a dozen anti-Lapp knots.
None of the Lapp knots failed under a heavy load that stretched the
cord by at least 25%, and none slipped even a little.
Every one of the anti-Lapp
knots failed under moderate load by slipping away into nothing.
(Thanks to roo for "evil impostor".)
See the discusion
of the Lapp knot at the International Guild of Knot Tyers forum.